In the first act of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet , the Ghost of the dead King of Denmark appears to his son, setting off a chain of events that culminates in the play’s notoriously bloody finale. But how would this mysterious figure have been understood in Shakespeare’s time?
Harvard professor Stephen Greenblatt guides learners through an exploration of the Ghost’s uncanny theatrical power and the historical contexts from which the character emerged. You will be introduced to the narrative sources of Hamlet, the religious convictions that shaped how Renaissance England understood the afterlife, and how the Ghost would have thrilled and challenged its original audience. By focusing on the Ghost, you will see how the play grapples with issues like death, mourning, remembrance, and the power of theatre.